I s there a key nuance of a great salesperson that is not often talked about that could be useful for entrepreneurs? After all, both are in the revenue generating function with varying degrees of involvement. Let’s consider the following four points:
1. Framing the context
An entrepreneur meets a customer. Now imagine that you meet a potential customer under two circumstances –when your customer pipeline is brimming full, and when your customer pipeline is empty. Would you handle the two situations differently? How you could rate your self-esteem under the two scenarios?
Will your communication send different messages under the two scenarios? Great salespeople do not let paucity or an abundance of business dictate how they handle a potential client. How do they do that? It is a riddle worth exploring and sharing. At the root of it is a deeper understanding of passion – quintessential for connecting with your audience.
2. A page from the best sales peoples’ playbook
Best salespeople are always evenkeel in their approach toward a prospect, whether they are exceeding goals or starting the year afresh. They have a firm handle on the degree of passion. They go so far, but no further. They are passionate but have a healthy detachment to the outcome and more importantly their current performance status. Although, such small nuances are lost in translation, it aligns with research on harmonious passion.
3. The degree of passion
There is an interesting empirical research by psychologist in the European Journal of Social Psychology that explores the relationship between passion and self-esteem. What is unique about this research is that they do not talk about passion as one word, but split it into degrees of passion. Their research concludes that lower the variability of passion in a person, the higher the self-esteem. In other words, lesser the yo-yo of passion dictated by circumstances, the more positive self-esteem. They even coin a phrase for that – harmonious passion.
4. It all starts with the handshake
The bigger question is – how does a great salesperson pull it off, while the same situation will confound the average salesperson?
- l It starts with the handshake. A great salesperson matches the pressure the customer exerts in a handshake. Being extra conscious of the most basic gesture is a starting point.
- l Most passionate people are interesting first and interested second. The very best people flip the order. Great salespeople know their chops. Catch them in a social setting and express an interest in what they do, and their depth of domain expertise will amaze you.
However, when they get an opportunity to meet a prospect who may be interested in what they have to offer, they temporarily suspend their urge to share the synthesis of their knowledge and hard work. In essence, they restrain themselves from doing the natural thing. Instead, they let their passion ebb into the natural flow of conversation that mirrors client’s wavelength.
In a nutshell, great salespeople know where to draw the line between being passionate and being married to an idea. That nuance takes them afar from the rest of the pack. Entrepreneurs, the passionate kind, can take a leaf out of their playbook.
If a coin toss is a metaphor for meeting different customers, outcomes of past coin tosses have no bearing on the outcome of the current toss. Yet, when it comes to people and their success, history has a way of creating a mental euphoria or a baggage.
Unshackling it is easier said than done, but being self-aware is the first big step – mirroring the magic handshake is where the harmonious passion begins.
(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (February 2016 Issue).